The TinCaps looked different on Friday night. After falling behind the Lake County Captains in the second inning, they pulled themselves right back into the game. Although they’d suffered from shaky defense in recent weeks, they didn’t commit an error. After getting just one hit with runners in scoring position in their previous two games, Juan Fernandez had two such clutch hits.
Even the uniforms were different, as they donned Star Wars threads for the second time this season.
But the result was the same: a loss, this time by a score of 5-4, for the seventh time in the last eight games.
“We need to keep working hard as a team,” Fernandez said, using his teammate as a translator.
Omar Cruz, making his second start for the TinCaps, kept the Captains off the scoreboard in the first inning, but Hosea Nelson led off the top of the second with a double that reached the outfield wall in center-left. He then walked Miguel Jerez, and both runners moved over on a sacrifice bunt. Nelson scored on a sacrifice fly to left. Daniel Schneeman followed with a single, and while the relay throw reached Fernandez at the plate in time to make a play the catcher dropped the ball before he could tag Nelson, and the Captains took a 2-0 lead.
But the TinCaps did not trail for long. Grant Little reached base on a walk and then easily scored as Fernandez sent a hard-hit double down the third-base line. Fernandez moved to third when the throw to home plate went wide. Captains pitcher Luis Oviedo issued a walk to Luis Almanzar and then gave up a single to Lee Solomon that scored Fernandez and tied the game at 2-2.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and Michael Curry walked. Little advanced both with a sacrifice bunt, and both scored on a single by Juan Fernandez to put the TinCaps ahead 4-2.
The Captains took a run back in the eight, when pinch hitter Makesiondon Kelkboom smashed the first pitch he saw from reliever Henry Henry, hitting a home run past the seats in left field to make the score 4-3. Henry then allowed a double to Nelson, who came around to score on a single by Josh Rolette that tied the game. The Captains took back the lead when Cody Farhat hit a triple to the right-field corner to score Rolette.
As in his debut, Cruz finished with a no-decision in his second start, but looked significantly more comfortable Friday, striking out eight and walking just two in five innings of work.
“It was a good night for him, because every time he goes out he’s going out focused on the game and prepared for the game,” Fernandez said.
Notes: The TinCaps auctioned off the game-worn jerseys from Star Wars Night, raising $3,370 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.